Glam Metal

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Glam metal (also known as hair metal) is a subgenre of heavy metal that arose in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the United States, particularly on the Los Angeles Sunset Strip music scene. It was popular throughout the 1980s and briefly in the early 1990s, combining the flamboyant look of glam rock and playing a power-chord based hard rock musical style.

Musically, glam metal songs are traditional heavy metal songs with pop-influenced catchy hooks and guitar riffs. Like other heavy metal songs of the 1980s, they often feature shred guitar solos. Glam metal performers became infamous for their debauched lifestyles of late-night parties (widely covered in the tabloid press), very long backcombed hair, use of make-up, gaudy clothing and accessories (chiefly consisting of tight denim or leather jeans, spandex, and headbands). Many of these traits were reminiscent of glam rock.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glam_metal

Sub-genre collaborators (shared with Hard Rock and Heavy Metal):
  • 666sharon666 (Leader)

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One Night In Milan
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glam metal Music Reviews

QUIET RIOT One Night In Milan

Live album · 2019 · Glam Metal
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Kev Rowland
One night in 1981, I made my way to a hotel, to see the band who was playing there. When I got in I walked up to the incredibly small stage, looked at the complete backline of floor to ceiling Marshalls, looked at the size of the amps either side of the stage, then checked again just how high the ceiling was (not very), and knew it was going to be loud, very loud. At 11pm four ex-skinheads from Wolverhampton took to the tiny stage, and promptly tore it up. There will only ever be one Slade, a band that wrote hit after hit, and were metalheads through and through. Quiet Riot have made a career on trying to be Slade, and within the 15 songs on offer there are two Slade covers, but neither are as good as the original. To be honest, Quiet Riot aren’t as good as Quiet Riot used to be, and then with a sound engineer who has gone missing in action the result is a mess.

The line-up features both Frankie Banali on drums and bassist Chuck Wright, who both performed on ‘Metal Health’, guitarist Alex Grossi, who has been in the band for 14 years and new singer James Durbin, who was on 'American Idol' during the tenth season. This doesn’t feel like a live album, more like a good quality bootleg, and it is obvious there has been no “cleaning up” whatsoever. The drums are way too high in the mix, so much so that Banali is often more to the fore than Durbin. Durbin has a good rock voice, just needs to understand his stage patter was out of date in the Eighties, let alone now, and I could quite happily go without hearing him shouting to the crowd, saying how amazing Franke Banalie is etc.

There aren’t many highlight to be fair, as this is an album to be endured as opposed to enjoyed. “Thunderbird” is performed with a piano for the first time since it was recorded, but the Slade songs don’t hit home as they should, “Bang Your Head” doesn’t have the power it deserves (I still have the single I bought at the time!), and the rest are, well, not something to be proud of. The sound is not nearly as clear as it should be, the audience microphones are missing in action, as are the backing vocals, but the drums are always there. Pass.

EXTREME Extreme

Album · 1989 · Glam Metal
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martindavey87
By 1989, the world was already getting a bit bored by what was commonly referred to as either glam metal or hair metal... or simply, 80’s metal. With its vast array of long-haired, grown men in spandex and makeup, there was a certain cheesiness and repetition to the subgenre that had run its course, and with the rising thrash metal scene and grunge on the horizon, people were looking for something a bit more serious and with more depth.

Which is why it’s such a shame that Boston four-piece Extreme seem to have become the poster child for everything that was wrong with 80’s metal.

Big hairdos, headbands (definitely an 80’s thing), bright clothing and cowboy boots... Yep, these guys checked off everything on the list of cheesy clichés that people were embarrassed by. But the reality is that Extreme consists of four incredibly talented and competent musicians, and this, their 1989 self-titled debut album, is chock-full of catchy, well-written and well-performed songs.

Courtesy of guitar virtuoso Nuno Bettencourt, ‘Extreme’ features non-stop energetic displays of musical prowess. Accompanied by Gary Cherones powerful and infectious vocals, and a solid rhythm section by Pat Badger on bass and Paul Geary on drums, this is a band of highly competent musicians with incredible chemistry. There’s a strong, punchy production that brings the music to life, and a big emphasis on backing vocals and harmonies gives the songs some great dynamics.

Tracks like ‘Kid Ego’, ‘Little Girls’, ‘Wind Me Up’, ‘Teacher’s Pet’, ‘Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go to School Today)’, ‘Play With Me’ and ‘Flesh and Blood’ make this album such a joy to listen to. Fun, upbeat, energetic and full of excellent musicianship, Extreme had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and while they’re somewhat respected today, being around in 1989 instantly put them in the firing line for anyone who was fed up with the big-haired pompous rock stars of the 80’s. Still, if you can look past the criticisms of the day and the ridiculous fashion sense, ‘Extreme’ is a fantastic debut album, and definitely shows that there was some serious talent to be found in the hair metal scene of the 80’s.

DOKKEN Under Lock And Key

Album · 1985 · Glam Metal
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siLLy puPPy
While “Tooth And Nail” had gotten DOKKEN’s foot in the door with three strong videos and a minor European hit in “Just Got Lucky,” the band still hadn’t broken into the exploding glam metal scene in their native USA, however with their third album UNDER LOCK AND KEY that all changed as the album instantly shot up the charts into the top 40 and gracefully stuck around for over a year. Most of the band’s exposure came through a brutal and relentless touring schedule which found them opening for various bands such as Judas Priest, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Dio and Kiss. Critics and fans alike found UNDER LOCK AND KEY to be a more diverse album than the predecessor with not only catchy pop hook laden hard rockers such as “The Hunter” and “In My Dreams” but tender ballads (“Jaded Heart,” “Slippin’ Away”) and heavy metal fueled monsters (“Lightnin’ Strikes Again,” “Till The Livin’ End.”)

By 1985 the hairspray bands were in full action and DOKKEN joined the glam metal scene all dolled up with their glitzy kitsch rock image and hairspray to high heaven, however the band remained above the pack with their extra attention in crafting extremely catchy pop hooks laced with George Lynch’s exquisite guitar playing skills. By this time Lynch had become one of the guitar world’s favorite metal shredders who ranked in popularity only behind Eddie Van Halen and the recently deceased Randy Rhoads in his homeland of Los Angeles. UNDER LOCK AND KEY finds the band balancing Lynch’s catch pop infused guitar riffs once again with lead singer Don Dokken’s sing along schoolboy lyrical charm. A more diverse musical palette also allowed bassist Jeff Pilson and drummer Mick Brown to explore more diverse dynamics as well.

While “Tooth And Nail” remained surprisingly consistent for an album of ten tracks, UNDER LOCK AND KEY is more of a mix bag with several mid-tempo rockers stealing the show in terms of pop hook strength. The first tracks “Unchain The Night,” “The Hunter” and “In My Dreams” almost single-handedly steal the show as they are the most sophisticatedly composed of the lot with almost irresistible hooks that showcase all the strengths of the band including cleverly crafted pop sensibilities, guitar driven heft and relatable to the average person lyrical content. Also on board are a couple of less interesting ballads in the form of “Slippin’ Away” and “Jaded Heart” which suffer from an overly sappy presentation. Same goes for the rather insipid “Don’t Lie To Me” which displays in full effect the limitations of Don Dokken’s clean vocal style that kept DOKKEN from achieving greater musical than they could’ve otherwise but Don was a shrewd business man which proved good for the band’s fame and fortune.

Other strong tracks are “Lightnin’ Strikes Again,” “It’s Not Love” and “Till The Livin’ End” which showcases a more mature band that despite not exactly loving one another, could rise to the occasion of crafting commercially viable pop metal tracks to launch their career to greater heights. Overall UNDER LOCK AND KEY is a mixed bag. The stronger tracks are much better than anything off of “Tooth And Nail” but the weaker tracks are utterly forgettable at best and at worst nauseating. Like many albums of this era, the production is a bit tinny and ruins some of the impact but the DOKKEN machine found itself quite adept at continuing to crank out a steady stream of musical gems that conspired to burrow their way into the public’s consciousness. This album pretty much cemented the band’s success for the rest of the 80s and they would continue to tour with some of the most popular acts of the era without ever really finding enough success to headline for themselves.

WINTER ROSE Winter Rose

Album · 1989 · Glam Metal
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martindavey87
James LaBrie and 80's glam metal. Shudder as the image comes into your mind. And yes, that's a four-star rating! I'm as shocked as you are!

Prior to becoming the voice of legendary progressive metal outfit Dream Theater, vocalist James LaBrie was a member of Winter Rose, a short-lived glam band. All the clichés are here; wailing vocals, bluesy riffs, a song called 'Diana', hell, there's even a song called 'Thrill of the Night', which is about as cliché as you can get. Throw in some lyrics about love, women and "the boys" and this is a very 80's record. LaBrie even treats us to the odd "huh" here and there. Outstanding.

But despite all of that, there's quite a lot of catchy material here. The guitar work is pretty standard of this subgenre, but impressive nonetheless, and LaBrie's voice, unhampered by age and future vocal cord ruptures, is in peak condition. At times it's slightly annoying and his pronunciation has always faltered here and there, but ultimately the guy is an amazing singer, and it's easy to see why Dream Theater were dead set on him after hearing this.

'I'll Never Fall in Love Again', 'Asylum City', 'One Last Time', 'Saved By Love', 'Rough Boys' and 'Never Let Me Go' are all great songs that, if you can get past the cheesiness of it all, are worth checking out. And in fact, there isn't a single bad song on this album. Though, for what it's worth however, despite my praises, this isn't really anything groundbreaking or new, and is only really noteworthy for featuring LaBrie. In which regard, this is mainly one for the Dream Theater collectors.

EXTREME Extreme

Album · 1989 · Glam Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Coming from Boston, USA, the funk glam metal band EXTREME formed from the ashes of several other bands imploding before they barely got started. Gary Cherone (vocals) and Paul Geary (drums) from a band called The Dream, Pat Badger (bass) from a band called In The Pink and guitarist Nuno Buttencourt coming from Sinful. Once the four hooked up and began writing songs, the chemistry was complete and quickly caught attention in the live circuit of the Boston region. While forming in 1985 it only took a year to win the Boston Music Awards in both 86 and 87. This caught the attention of A&M Records turned PolyGram in 1988 and soon thereafter the band was signed and released their eponymous debut album catching the wave of the 80s alternative funk metal scene coupled with a glam appearance.

Despite the attempts to pigeonhole EXTREME into any sort of categorization however they were actually quite distinct from other bands of the day with their tracks consisting of catchy Van Halen-esque guitar riffs accompanied by funky syncopated counterpoints. Nuno Betterncourt was a particular developed guitarist offering super fast and technically advanced guitar soloing much in the vein of Eddie Van Halen. These guitar antics are most pronounced on “Mutha (Don’t Wanna Go To School Today)” and the track “Play With Me” the latter of which took parts of Mozart’s “Rondo Alla Turca in A minor” as the intro and outro with a sizzling classical infused solo in the middle. “Play With Me” track was featured in the films “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” and “Jury Duty” which helped get the band some greater national attention. Also, Gary Cherone had a deep voice sounding a lot like Paul Stanley of KISS and the band also employed three-part harmonies especially on the slower ballady tracks such as “Watching, Waiting” and “Rock A Bye Bye.”


While exhibiting a funk metal approach to the compositions, EXTREME comfortably fit in the glam metal scene as well with the standard gaudy hairspray and stretch pants of the day but mainly with the catchy pop hooks wrapped up in heavy rock riffing and extended soloing. On this debut album the band was still struggling to shed their influences which despite having a fairly unique sound still has plenty of sections that sound like they would fit right off a Van Halen or Queen album. The band also displays their love of genre jumping with not only classic heavy rock but the more subdued slower tracks as well but nothing near the more expansive free reign of their second album “Pornograffiti.” The album enjoyed moderate success selling over 300,000 albums with the help of the singles “Little Girls,” “Kid Ego,” "Mutha (Don't Wanna Go To School Today)" and "Play With Me" which found airplay on MTV and select radio play.

EXTREME is a fairly pleasant album to experience. The musicians are all tight with Nuno Bettencourt showing a highly developed sense of melodic virtuosity beyond the standard of the day. The tracks have an innocent playfulness to them as they are all associated with childhood experiences and the rhythms are not only catchy but have a bouncy carefree delivery save the two slower tracks. This debut album is actually a pretty accomplished recording but there a few issues i have with it. First of all the production is a little lackluster and sounds a bit too thin as if it was released on an MP3 before they existed. Secondly the band tends to try too hard to be other bands on any given track and a unifying chemistry hadn’t quite gelled yet as they were still getting their feet wet. All in all, EXTREME is a decent debut for a band that had a larger musical palette than most of their contemporaries. This debut was successful in garnering enough attention that would allow their followup to break them into the mainstream.

glam metal movie reviews

NELSON After The Rain (VHS)

Movie · 1991 · Glam Metal
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1967/ 1976
A simple promotional VHS is this with 3 songs from their debut album, one previously unreleased and interview and various footages. Not bad at all.

The music is a melodic Glam Metal without surprises but good. The writing is correct.

The interview and various footages (between the songs) are good as a TV special and for promotional use, because for the rest, in my opinion, nothing of special are contained.

In definitive view: Nelson is a great band with a great songs, if you love melodic Glam Metal. This VHS is a promotional issue and nothing more. But in a Metal discography not disfigure.

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